Several sickened by synthetic drug 'Spice' near Petco Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Several sickened by synthetic drug 'Spice' near Petco Park

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - First responders stayed busy Saturday responding to at least 14 suspected 'Spice' overdoses alone.

Officers say the synthetic drug started causing problems last week and brings the total number sickened to around 30 people.

"Very similar to last weekend. In some of the incidents, we were able to recover remnants of spice, the packaging and what appears to be a tobacco-like substance inside the packaging itself," said Sgt. Arthur Scott, San Diego Police Dept.

[RELATED STORY: Multiple people hospitalized after ingesting synthetic drug 'Spice']

Police say spice makers spray chemicals on the product to make the user hallucinate.

The product falls into a legal grey area because it's not the leafy substance, but rather chemicals that make it illegal, which requires extensive testing.

"We're still trying to work through it and find out exactly where it's coming from. More importantly, get a sample of it and do a toxicology on it," said Sgt. Edwin Garrette, SDPD.

Officers found those hospitalized purchased spice in packaging with a blue dragon or skull on the side of the packaging. So far, it's not clear if the cases are connected to the same dealer.

Police say it does appear users are buying on the streets near 12th and Imperial and overdosing on nearby downtown streets.

"We have everything from anxiety to rapid heartbeats. In some of the severe cases, we've had several patients unconscious, actively seizing and decreased respiratory rates," said Batt. Chief David Gerboth, SD Fire Rescue.

When officers responded to multiple medical aid calls in the East Village, Gaslamp District and Little Italy last week, the patients had symptoms varying from seizures to bloody noses.

Several people who became ill passed out in the middle of the street.

Selling synthetic cannabinoid compounds like Spice has been illegal in California since 2012.

Anyone with information on the drug or its makers was asked to call the SDPD at (619) 531-2000. All tips can be made anonymously.

[This is a developing story. Refresh this page for updates.]

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